Mark Aselstine
May 25, 2012 | Mark Aselstine

UC Davis Trinchero Building

Trinchero Family Vineyards has been a Napa Valley landmark since the family left a comfortable life in New York City to live the dream in wine country. They bought an old and outdated winery which was once Sutter Home and began to remake the land, vineyards and buildings. Of course the profile of the winery took a dramatic step forward when they started producing what was likely the first White Zinfandel in California. While White Zin has certainly become the punch line of many jokes within the wine community of late, it helped to introduce a skeptical public to California wines in the 1980’s, well before the average American consumer realized the quality wines being produced domestically. Less well know is that the winery also had started to make a name for itself among the wine elite by a series of outstanding Amador county Zinfandel offerings. Ensuing decades brought even more changes and increases in quality including the purchase of over 200 of the best vineyards in Napa Valley as well as moving the winery into St. Helena. The end result of over 60 years in the wine trade: a really, really high quality Napa Valley winery producing approximately 12,000 cases of wine per year.

We bring up Trinchero today because UC Davis has officially dedicated an agriculture and environmental sciences building bearing the families name. While many wine drinkers realize that UC Davis educates and trains many American winemakers, most people don’t realize that the University does at least as much in terms of true viticulture research. Whether its genetic testing to find the parents of currently popular grape vines, or the continued research into stopping Phyllexora here and abroad UC Davis is truly living up to its charter as a University made to create high quality, relevant research. Additionally, the ties between the Mondavi family and Davis have been well chronicled elsewhere, but for someone working in the wine trade I can greatly appreciate another winery choosing to help support the greatest publicly funded research center in our industry, especially in a time where state funding is stretched incredibly thin.


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